Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ends her two-week hunger strike in Iran

Posted at 3:59 AM, Jun 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-29 05:59:05-04

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe — the British-Iranian charity worker who has been jailed in Iran for more than three years on spying charges — has broken her two-week hunger strike, her husband Richard Ratcliffe confirmed on Facebook.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe had taken the decision to go on a hunger strike on June 15, after her daughter Gabriella turned five years old while she remains locked up, her husband previously told CNN.

In a post on Facebook, UK-based Ratcliffe said he received a call from his wife from Evin prison Saturday morning, who said he had broken her strike with a banana and an apple, as well as a small amount of porridge.

“Nazanin said that she had done two full weeks and that her strike had made a clear point,” he wrote. “But she did not want to take it further because of Gabriella.”

It’s the third hunger strike the 40-year-old has held since being detained.She last held one in January in a desperate attempt to receive medical treatment forlumps in her breasts and numbness in her limbs.

In solidarity with his wife, Ratcliffe also held a hunger strike outside the Iranian Embassy in London after pitching a tent outside to protest her continued detention. On Facebook he said he would also end his strike, and thanked everyone who supported the couple over the past two weeks.

“For me, this has been a remarkable experience — physically hard, but emotionally uplifting where I have met some amazing people,” Ratcliffe wrote. “It has been a reminder that the world has a lot of kindness in it, even in angriest times.”

Amnesty International’s UK director Kate Allen reiterated that while the hunger strike is over, “the deep injustice of this case isn’t,” according to Britain’s Press Association (PA) news agency.

“Nazanin is still a prisoner of conscience, still unfairly jailed after a sham trial, and still being subjected to the torment of separation from her home and family,” Allen added.

“This deeply troubling case urgently needs to be resolved. The Iranian authorities should finally do the right thing – release Nazanin and allow her to return home to the UK.”

Three years of imprisonment

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016while attempting to return home to London after visiting family with her daughter Gabriella, who was then 22 months old.

The Iranian government accused the British-Iranian national of working with organizations allegedly attempting to overthrow the regime. She was sentenced to five years in jail and her child was placed in the care of her parents.

Her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, rejects the allegations. In May last year, Iranian media reported that she was due to face a new trial for “security-related” charges.

In August last year, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was treated in hospital after suffering panic attacks, her husband said. The attacks came just days after she returned to prison after she was temporarily releasedto spend time with her family and daughter.

Boris Johnson, the front-runner in the race to become the United Kingdom’s next prime minister, was forced to apologize in 2017 after his comments about Zaghari-Ratcliffe raised fears that her jail sentence could be prolonged.

In his most serious misstep as foreign secretary, Johnson told a parliamentary committee that she had been teaching journalism during her visit in Iran, but later clarified that she had been visiting relatives before she was detained.